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10 Tips for Writing a Strong Legal Resume
At Lexitas we know a thing or two about how to make your resume stand out above the competition. Here are 10 tips to take your resume to the next level.
1. Keep it Short and Sweet
Limit your resume to two pages. Employers are primarily interested in work done in the last 5-7 years no matter the position level. Only list older history if it's relevant to the position. Cover in detail the major job duties performed noting results achieved.
2. Keep it Simple
Avoid distracting photos, graphics, fonts or colors that can make your resume difficult to read. Use clear section headings and bullet points for easy navigation. Consider easy to read fonts such as Arial, Georgia or Garamond. Don't include reasons for leaving each job. Spell out names of schools, cities, business terms, abbreviations, and titles completely, as employers may not recognize exactly what the letters stand for.
3. Tailor Your Resume
You many not want to list every work experience you've ever had. Highlight the accomplishments and skills that are most relevant to the job at hand.
4. Emphasize Results
Results achieved matter the most. Include accomplishments and outcomes you've delivered in past positions. Show the impact you had and your productivity by including details concerning money earned, or time or dollars saved. Use numbers to reflect, how much, how many, and percentage of gain or reduction.
5. Use Action Verbs
Starting your points with action verbs is a great way to show yo you are performance-oriented.
6. Keep Your Sentences Under 30
Words Write your resume in short, punchy sentences like news headlines. It makes your resume more skimmable.
7. Include the Right Contact Information
The email address you list on your resume should be professional (email@example.com). Include your city, state, and phone number. Drop the fax number. No one uses them anymore.
8. Never Fudge Facts
Most law firms and corporate legal departments ask us to conduct reference and background checks. Stretching dates of employment or inflating a former job title isn't worth the risk.
There is no excuse for having misspellings or grammatical errors. These mistakes tell the hiring manager you are not detail-oriented. Run spellcheck and also slowly read your resume both on screen and on paper. Also ask a few friends to read it.
10. Keep it Updated
Even if you're not job hunting, update your resume and LinkedIn every time you accept a new job or complete a significant project. It makes you look lazy if you past jobs have a large amount of descriptive text, while your most recent job only has two lines.